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Whitewall x Louis Vuitton

Lee Quiñones and Futura 2000 in Conversation with Whitewall at Louis Vuitton Yayoi Kusama Pop-Up

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Last week in New York, Whitewall partnered with Louis Vuitton for an evening celebrating the maison’s latest collaboration with Yayoi Kusama coming to the city. Together, we welcomed icons of the New York art scene, Lee Quiñones and Futura 2000, along with guests, to the Kusama-covered Gansevoort Street pop-up boutique. There, a wonderland installation of Kusama’s spots, oversized flowers, mirrored orbs, and collaborative men’s, women’s, and accessories collections with Louis Vuitton set the scene for a discussion between the artists, moderated by Whitewall’s editor-in-chief, Katy Donoghue.

Whitewall x Louis Vuitton

Photo by Jade Greene.

Attended by a noteworthy guest list including the likes of Vincent Fremont, Tomokazu Matsuyama, Tamara Warren, Angela Goding, Nazy Nazhand, Kambui Olujimi, Lia Chavez, Hannah Traore, and Tabatha McGurr, Futura and Quiñones sat central in the space, surrounded by the fantastical world of Kusama. Their conversation with Donoghue began looking back on over 40 years of friendship and parallels in their artistic practices, which were seminal in defining the Subway Movement of the 1970s and 1980s.

Hungry to make art whenever and wherever they could, the artists touched upon their beginnings as artists painting graffiti on streets and on train cars—a practice that was not without risk. Often painting entire subway cars with works that could be seen by all (frequently displaying provocative socio-political themes) this form of public art made had enormous influence, a remarkable feat in the days before information could be captured and shared at the touch of a button on a smartphone.

Whitewall x Louis Vuitton

Photo by Jade Greene.

After becoming established through their influential approach in New York, both artists began to shift towards a studio practice, which yielded success in the formal gallery ecosystem and helped to move street art above ground. Decades later, both Futura and Quiñones have continued to explore nontraditional mediums and have exhibited around the world—which, they shared, has always been driven by a quest to connect and tell the human story through visual expression.

Coincidentally, Futura and his label Futura Laboratories have collaborated with Louis Vuitton previously, alongside projects with other brands like BMW, Off-White, Comme des Garçons, and Nike (most recently in the “Virgil Abloh x Futura Laboratories” sneaker auction with Sotheby’s), as well as the artist’s work featured in past presentations at MoMA PS1, LA MOCA, the New Museum, and currently at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in the exhibition “Basquiat x Warhol. Painting four hands.” Quiñones has been exhibited and has work within the permanent collections of museums like at The Whitney, MoMA, Perez Art Museum Miami, and currently in Hong Kong at the K11 Art Foundation in the “City As Studio” exhibition. Quiñones also worked with Louis Vuitton early this year for the street art/sneaker exhibition “White Canvas: LV Trainer in Residence.”

Whitewall x Louis Vuitton

Photo by Jade Greene.

As the discussion came to a close, after a hint from both artists on what’s next and why they still feel an urgency to make work, the crowd mingled, took photos with, and sought signatures from two icons who’ve proved that art that speaks truth—no matter where it begins—will always have staying power.    

Whitewall x Louis Vuitton

Photo by Jade Greene.

Whitewall x Louis Vuitton

Photo by Jade Greene.

Whitewall x Louis Vuitton

Photo by Jade Greene.

Whitewall x Louis Vuitton

Photo by Jade Greene.

Whitewall x Louis Vuitton

Photo by Jade Greene.

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THE WINTER EXPERIENCE ISSUE
2023

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In the Winter 2024 Issue, Whitewall spoke with the Polish artist on collaborating with Louis Vuitton on its latest Artycapucines collection.

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Go inside the worlds
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and Lifestyle.